NZ vs Australia - ISKA Kickboxing Title Fight at Kings of Kombat, Melbourne
Titleholders all, the New Zealand contingent making their way to Melbourne for the Kings of Kombat show are experienced, confident and hungry for success. Come Sunday, August 29, the Springers Leisure Centre will be packed with a capacity crowd, and a line up of some of the best fighters in the world to grapple with our own. Multiple title-holder and former Olympian, Doug 'Vicious' Viney will be joined by Jordan 'Terror' Tai and Sio 'Smooth' Vitale for a huge night against the Australians.
Drawing the biggest crowd for the main event, Viney is out to take the ISKA World Super Heavy Weight Title belt from Peter 'The Chief' Graham, in what promises to be an explosive fight against the creator of the infamous Rolling Thunder move.
"This is a big fight for me because it is for the ISKA title," explains Viney determinedly, "so I'm just focussing on putting that belt around my waist. I've fought him before - back in 2006 - and I beat him. But this time I'm not thinking about that, what's driving me is that belt. That belt is mine."
Like Tai (2002 & 2003 K-1 World Max New Zealand Champion), the Auckland Kickboxer hasn't stepped into the ring in almost three years, but has been preparing for the match with the best. Both fighters have spent the past month in Las Vegas, training with Ray 'Sugarfoot' Sefo at Randy Couture's gym. "Ray was helping us out with technique corrections," Viney says, "because in the two and a half years that we've been 'asleep' our technique isn't what it used to be. He's cleaned us up and got us fit." Fortunately for the pair, they were also able to spar with big names like Vitor Belfort, Ray Sefo and Randy Couture himself - great preparation for any fighter returning to the ring.
Tai, who has fought more than one hundred fights, will throw down against 'Stone Cold' Steve Moxon, a less-experienced but very promising Australian kickboxer. "My last fight - in Sweden about two years ago," mentions Tai calmly, "was stopped by the referee because my eye closed, so hopefully I come back and get a good win. I haven't seen him [Steve Moxon] fight before, but I've fought the best and this is just another fight (laughs)."
Sio 'Smooth' Vitale is taking a similarly relaxed attitude to the event, and is already well-versed in his opponent's fighting style - having fought Paul 'The Sting' Slowinski three times already. Despite losing those fights, Vitale is "pretty confident, but I don't mind. Whatever happens, happens. You just have to go in there with an open mind, as well as a mind to win." According to the WKBF NZ Super Heavyweight champion, Slowinski has a particular weakness that he plans to exploit, if he can get past the Australian's defence. "Paul is a very good fighter - a good kicker - but I've seen that if he gets a couple of connections to the chin in flurries, he tends to go down."
With the cool confidence of the three New Zealanders on display, it could be a clean sweep victory for the team, and a definite fulfilling of a promise. "Me and jordan would like to thank everyone who is supporting us and helping us. We're not going to let them down, and we're both going to come back with our dues - hopefully with knockouts."